Finalists for UW’s top research job announced

Four individuals – a social scientist, an engineer, a biologist and a medical physicist – have been identified as finalists for the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s top research job, it was announced today (June 10).

Capping a seven-month national search to fill the position of vice chancellor for research and dean of the Graduate School, a 16-member committee led by UW-Madison professor of agronomy William Tracy has identified four finalist candidates for the position that oversees one of the nation’s largest and most diverse academic research and graduate education landscapes.

“Each of the finalists has unique qualities that will help our university maintain its standing as one of the world’s premier research universities and centers of graduate education,” notes Tracy.

Finalists for the position are:

– Rex Chisholm, vice dean for scientific affairs and graduate studies at Northwestern University.

– Adam Gamoran, director of the Wisconsin Center for Education Research at UW-Madison.

– Richard Hichwa, senior associate vice president for research at the University of Iowa.

– Thomas Kuech, a UW-Madison professor of chemical and biological engineering.

During the summer, the finalists will interview with UW-Madison Chancellor Biddy Martin, Provost Paul DeLuca and other campus leaders; meet with faculty, staff and students; and each will make a public presentation on research and graduate education in the 21st century.

A decision on who will be selected to fill the position now held by geographer Martin Cadwallader will be made after the candidates complete campus visits and presentations.

The selected candidate will lead all aspects of a dynamic and sweeping program of graduate education and research. In 2009, UW-Madison expended more than $1 billion on research in the natural sciences, social sciences, education and the arts and humanities. The university has ranked among the top five research universities in America each year for almost two decades as measured by research expenditures.

The finalists for the position are all accomplished faculty from premier research institutions. Each is well known in their field of study.

Chisholm, in addition to his administrative role at Northwestern, is the Adam and Richard T. Lind Professor of Medical Genetics as well as a professor of cell and molecular biology and of surgery. He has nearly 100 scientific publications to his credit and has trained or helped train 38 graduate students and postdoctoral fellows. Chisholm currently serves on the National Advisory Council for Human Genome Research and has worked actively to promote public scientific literacy. He is an elected fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and of the Chicago Institute of Medicine.

Gamoran is the John D. MacArthur Professor of Sociology and Educational Policy Studies at UW-Madison. He directs the Wisconsin Center for Education Research, one of UW-Madison’s largest research centers, and serves as associate dean for research in the School of Education. He is the author or co-author of more than 100 articles and chapters and has written or edited five books. His current research and graduate training activities are supported by the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Education. Gamoran is an elected member of the National Academy of Education, serves on the National Research Council’s Board on Science Education and was appointed by President Obama to serve on the National Board for Education Sciences.

A professor of radiology, physics and radiation oncology at the University of Iowa, Hichwa has served as the university’s associate vice president for research beginning in 2006 and was named senior associate vice president for research in 2010. An expert on positron emission tomography and its application to human biochemical and physiological systems, he is the author or co-author of more than 110 scholarly articles and 16 book chapters. He has trained or helped train 30 graduate students and postdoctoral fellows.

Kuech is the Milton J. and A. Maude Shoemaker Professor of Chemical Engineering at UW-Madison. He has served as chair of the UW-Madison Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, and for five years he directed the Materials Research Science and Engineering Center on Nanostructured Materials and Interfaces. A member of the National Academy of Engineering and a fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and of the American Physical Society, he is an authority on semiconductors and the materials from which they are made. He has authored more than 450 articles in refereed journals and conference proceedings. He holds 16 patents and has trained or helped train 28 graduate students.

Terry Devitt, UW Communications